Coarsegold neighbors concerned over animal neglect

Animal Services officers are investigating a Madera County horse owner suspect of animal neglect. It comes after some neighbors raised concerns the horses were underfed.
December 31, 2013 5:17:18 PM PST
Animal Services officers are investigating a Madera County horse owner suspect of animal neglect. It comes after some neighbors raised concerns the horses were underfed.

Kirsten Gross, the director of Madera County Animal Services says they sent an officer to see the horses two weeks ago. The officer said the horses were not critically unhealthy but they were skinnier than normal.

"Some of them looked pretty good, but some of them were a little 'ribby', which means they're ribs are exposed; they didn't have any flesh to cover to keep them warm," Gross said. "From the scoring of the horses, with scoring one being emaciated and five being fat and sassy, she scored the horses a two."

Bridgette Russell lives near the Pasteur where the horses are kept. She says since Animal Services got involved, she's noticed an improvement in the horses. She says the horses were much worse before.

"Thin with their rib showing, or sucked up in their flanks, feet are in horrible condition," she described.

She says there used to be five horses in the Pasteur but last week, one became so sick, it had to be put down.

"The mare was extremely emaciated," Russell said. "she was wobbly and she couldn't stand on her feet."

An animal officer was present and said the horse humanly put down. Gross says it was an older horse and it's hard to tell if the death had anything to do with negligence on the part of the owner.

"Whether that was because it was old and couldn't keep up with the nutrition of its body or that the gentlemen in question did not feed appropriately a horse of that age, that's yet to be determined," she said.

Action News reached out to the owner of the horses, he has not responded. But we caught up with the Alan Lohuis, who owns the land where the horses are kept. He says he sees the owner come by regularly to feed the horses.

"He said he missed Christmas day because it's Christmas day," Lohuis said, "but he's there every day to feed the horses and he's given them what he thinks they need."

Gross says an officer form Animal Services is scheduled to return next week. She added that they are monitoring more than thirty cases of animal neglect throughout Madera County.


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